Cougars Give Encore Scrimmage Performance

BYU coaches held a follow up to last Friday's full practice scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium today in an attempt to polish up, acclimate and get the team ready for the annual Blue-White game that will be this Saturday.

With the offense somewhat sputtering last week in front of over 250 former players and alumni, Bronco Mendenhall was forthcoming in his evaluation of his team's performance. Inconsistency, sloppiness and a lack of discipline were some of the words he used to describe the day's performance. It seemed the team would begin today's scrimmage in much the same way.

After a slow offensive start hampered by the performance of an early fired up defense, the offense struggled to find it's rhythm and success. Quarterback John Beck lead the first team offense onto the field. Fahu Tahi ran twice for 3 yards followed by a incomplete Beck pass.

The second unit took the field lead by quarterback Matt Berry. The second unit did no better than the first team. Curtis Brown ran twice for 3 yards followed by a Berry incomplete pass.

The offense started to come to life on the third offensive series led by quarterback John Beck and the first team offensive unit.

Following a Tahi run for 1 yard and a crushing Manaia Brown bull rush up the middle for a 4 yard loss, Beck stepped back into the pocket and tossed a 14 yarder to tight end Jonny Harline for the first down. On the following play Beck hit Tahi for a 6 yards and followed that up with a 15 yard pass to running back Nathan Meikle. Following a Curtis Brown 3 yard run, Beck hit Tahi again for an additional 4 yards that resulted in field goal by Jared McLaughlin.

The third team offense got an opportunity on the fourth series of play, but their performance produced the same result as the first attempts of the first and second units.

Jason Beck threw an incomplete pass to Joe Griffin followed by a batted pass by T.J. Sitake. The attempted ended with an incomplete pass to tight end Harline who was hit by three defenders.

John Beck took to the field once again with the first team offense facing the first team defense. Beck hit running back Curtis Brown for 2 short yards. Nathan Meikle followed up with a reception from Beck that went 9 yards and a first down. Following a run play that went for no gain, Curtis Brown got outside the corner for a gain of 7 yards. On the following play Beck hit a streaking Joe Griffin for an additional 13 yards.

Curtis Brown ran for 3 yards, the Beck hit tight end Daniel Coats for 14 yards to get the first team offense into the "Blue Zone." Beck hit Tahi, who made a nice cut back inside and followed his blockers for a 20 yard scamper into the end zone.

The second unit trotted out onto the field for the next attempt. Gary Lovely made the start difficult by tackling running back speedster Wayne Latu in the backfield. Following a incomplete pass from Berry to wide receiver Brett Cooper, Manaia Brown again applied pressure up the middle and was able to bat down a pass to end the series.

The first team offense took the field and showed some tenacity on the first play as Tahi broke off tackle and carried 4 defenders 5 yards downfield for a gain of 9 yards. Wide receiver Matthew Smith got into the action by making the catch of the day when he laid out for a finger tip grab 35 yards downfield for the completion. Players standing on the side lines cheered the acrobatic performance. Following a 1 yard run by Tahi and an incomplete pass to Curtis Brown, tight end Harline made a juggling catch in the end zone, despite the obvious pass interference, for a touchdown.

The third unit got its chance for the second time of the scrimmage. Jason Beck threw an incomplete pass to Johnny Harline but followed up the attempt with an 18 yard strike to Joe Griffin. Following a Manaia Brown run stuffer and a bad snap from center, Curtis Brown caught a swing pass that went for 9 yards to end the series.

The defense started to pick up the intensity on the field holding both the first and second units to no success. The first team unit went three and out. The second team looked to far better when running back Wayne Latu showed his speed by busting through the defensive line and scampered down field for 25 yards. The play was called back by a holding call and the offense sputtered by going three and out.

For the next offensive series, the first team offense seemed to take back some of the tenacity from the defense. Tahi ran off tackle past the first line of defense. By this time the 235 pound running back was moving down field with the force of a truck when defensive back Spencer White came up to make the play. Tahi ended up running for an additional 10 yards after a big collision with white that elicited cheers from the sidelines.

Following a 5 yard catch by Coats, Curtis Brown got into the action by running for a 25 yard gain. Brown showed his speed and vision breaking through the D-line, and his last year's toughness by carrying defenders for a few extra yards. Following a Meikle sweep for 4 yards, defensive Katback Quinn Gooch put the offense in a tough position with a nice tackle for a 4 yard loss on a blitz. The series ended with an incomplete pass to Joe Griffin.

The third team unit struggled again as Eric Watterson fumbled a Jason Beck handoff that led to a long scrum on the field. Quarterback Jason Beck fought tooth and nail with defenders in what seemed like a never-ending dog pile for control of the ball. The second play of the series fared no better as cornerback Ryan Beck swatted the ball from Jason Beck's hand as he attempted to run out side the pocket. Linebacker Gary Lovely picked the ball up and, like the Air Force game of last year, scored a defensive touchdown.

The day ended with the first team unit racking up 23 yards before BYU coaches ended the day's scrimmage.

Side Notes:

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall took a shot on the side, doing a tuck and roll after getting caught up in the midst of a pile of tacklers. He quickly jumped to his feet, congratulated with pat on the back on the back the defender who made the play and ran back over to the edge of the sidelines while sticking the whistle back into his mouth ready for the next play.

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